Friends of Refugees

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Archive for the ‘xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism’ Category

Students rally in support of refugees in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 31, 2012

Students from Concord High School rallied yesterday in support of the refugees targeted with abuse last week. An article in the Concord Monitor has the details:

Roughly 50 Concord High School students, faculty and staff rallied yesterday at the home of recent refugee immigrants who received racist letter last week.

We know that Concord is way better than that,” said Hema Gautam, a Concord High senior and one of the rally organizers. “There is so much more love here than hate.”

We are working really, really hard on this point that this is America and there is no discrimination here. We are all human beings. We just want to be equal,” said Raman Sandhu, another senior and event organizer.

The students welcomed the family members, who found two anonymous notes on their door telling them to leave America… Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Nepali Bhutanese, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Third case of threatening notes left at refugees’ homes in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 25, 2012

Another case of insulting notes have been left at the home of another refugee family in Concord. The notes said that the refugee family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free and that they needed help getting kicked out of their apartment. Similar threatening notes were left in August and last September. The refugees also report that groups of young people will sometimes throw stones at them when they turn their backs, and that people sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass. An article in the Concord Monitor has the story:

Two notes insulting immigrants and refugees were left taped to the door of a family of Bhutanese refugees, the third incident of racist notes on refugee homes in Concord since September 2011…

The notes were left taped to their door in an apartment building on Eastern Avenue – one on Sunday and one on Monday. One was shorter and written in marker; the other filled an 8-by-11-inch white paper, and was written in pen.

They said, among other things, that the Gurung family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free.

Written as if by the Gurungs, one of the notes said, “help us get kicked out of our apartment”…

This is the third incident of racist notes left for recent refugee immigrants to Concord. In September 2011 and August this year, notes appeared written in black marker on several homes in the South End.

The same detective is working on this case, and his initial assessment is that it is not related, said Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley…

Other minority residents from the complex warned him groups of young white people will sometimes throw stones at them when their backs are turned, Lal Gurung said.

People also sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass, he said.

The bullying can be especially prominent in the mornings and afternoons as refugee children go to and from their school bus stop, he said...

Tips on the case can be shared anonymously by calling 226-3100, by visiting the Crimeline website, or by texting TIP234 and sending a message to CRIMES. Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Nepali Bhutanese, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Greek Prime Minister calls asylum-seekers a “disease”

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 10, 2012

Greek authorities have detained over 6,000 refugees fleeing murderous dictators in adjacent countries and seeking political asylum in the country. The Greek government is trying to vilify the people seeking help without by carefully doing little to identify legitimate refugees meriting protection. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has attempted to dehumanize the refugees in the public’s mind by terming the asylum seekers a “disease”. An article at the Greek Reporter explains:

ATHENS – An ongoing sweep that has taken more than 6,000 immigrants into custody in search of people in Greece unlawfully has been condemned by the human rights group Amnesty International, joining a chorus of Leftist Greek political parties and organizations who also criticized the action.

The Greek authorities must halt a mass police crackdown on irregular migrants and allow for effective access to asylum-seeking procedures to those in need of international protection,” Amnesty International said on Aug. 9, adding that it was concerned that what it called such a massive and discriminatory operation would fuel further attacks against immigrants, which are on the rise, and xenophobia in the country…

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has made a priority of going after illegal immigrants which he said were a “disease” afflicting Greece…

The Greek Council of Refugees said it understood and appreciated Greece’s right to protect its borders but said that this could not override its obligations under European and international law to respect the rights of refugees seeking political asylum…

Amnest International said the sweep, under the code name Xenios Zeus,  as being conducted without any precautions to identify refugees meriting protection from other migrants… Read more here

Posted in asylees, left-wing, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Community rally held for refugees targeted with graffiti in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 9, 2012

A couple of hundred community residents and leaders gathered on Thursday to show support for the refugee family victimized with racist and xenophobic graffiti. An article in the Union Leader covers the rally:

CONCORD — Residents upset with an act of racist graffiti aimed at a family of Somali immigrants gathered at the scene Thursday to show support for their neighbors and condemnation for the hate crime.

Organized by New American Africans, a support group founded and led by immigrants, the rally drew a couple of hundred community leaders and residents to the street outside the family’s Thompson Street home…

Participants sang traditional songs and a handful of speakers told the family that the incident does not reflect the larger community.

The targeted family, a married couple and seven children aged 2-15, asked that their names not be used. The mother said the expressions of support have changed fear to hope.

“I was thinking about the people, they don’t know me, they don’t like me or some thing like that,” she said. “But today after I saw a lot of people in here and they say they are so sorry, I feel happy for now.”

Gov. John Lynch was direct in his words, directed to the victims, telling them he was disgusted, appalled and angry.

“I want your family to know this was an isolated incident, it does not reflect who we are,” Lynch said. “You are part of our family and you will get all the love and support we give all our neighbors in New Hampshire.”

Lynch called for prosecution of the responsible parties “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rally participants said they hoped their presence would counter feelings of people who had been targets… Read more here

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Racist graffiti once again targets an African family at their home in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 8, 2012

Last September someone scrawled racist, xenophobic graffiti on three Concord refugee family homes in the South End. A community rally was held in support of the families. Now, in a repeat of the malicious harassment, a Somali refugee woman found a message scrawled on several lines of siding underneath her bedroom window describing the family as subhuman. Community members will once again gather to show of support for the refugees and to discourage overt acts like the graffiti, as well as the more common subtle hostility toward immigrants. An article at the Concord Monitor documents the incident:

As she pulled out of her Thompson Street driveway early Sunday morning to go to her job as a housekeeper, the woman quickly spotted it: a message in black permanent marker, scrawled on several lines of siding underneath her bedroom window.

She stopped the car and went back into the house to get her husband and children. The woman, who is originally from Somalia and can’t read or write English, said her children read her the message: “We can not coexist with third world scum,” it began.

“I was not surprised,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday evening, standing in her driveway. “I knew it was something bad that they wrote.”

The incident marks the second time in a year that xenophobic graffiti has defaced homes of African families in the South End. In September, graffiti written in black marker appeared on the homes of three refugee families on Perley and Downing streets, with each message describing the families as “subhumans” who weren’t wanted in the community…

“We can not coexist with third world scum,” the message read. “The primitive beasts like those in this house are to blame for the crimes we now suffer. Love your legals, deport the rest.”

O’Malley said the family who lives in the Thompson Street home is here legally and has had no problems with the police. Whoever wrote the graffiti “had no motives we’re aware of, other than just pure racism,” he said.

“We have concerns about this because it clearly is targeting a family,” O’Malley said. “It seems like it’s thought out.”…

The police are asking anyone with information about the graffiti to call the department at 225-8600. Tips may also be shared anonymously with the Concord Regional Crimeline by calling 226-3100, by visiting concordregionalcrimeline.com, or by texting TIP234 and sending a message to CRIMES… Read more here

Posted in New Hampshire, police, Somali, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

African refugees stabbed in presumed hate attack in Tel Aviv

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 1, 2012

African migrants have again come under attack in Israel. An attacker stabbed three Eritrean men in a south Tel Aviv video store yesterday. An article at the South African publication Times Live has the details:

An attacker stabbed three Eritrean men in a south Tel Aviv video store on Tuesday in what police said they were initially treating as a racist attack.

“All three people that were stabbed were taken to hospital with light to moderate injuries,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

“A suspect who was in the video shop at the time fled the scene. Police are searching for him.”

He did not give a physical description of the suspect, adding that police were currently examining CCTV footage and interviewing witnesses.

An eyewitness told an AFP photographer that the assailant was of Israeli appearance.

Rosenfeld said that while not ruling out other motives the main police avenue of investigation was that it was a hate crime.

“That’s the main direction, as all three of them were stabbed,” he said. “If it had been just one of them stabbed it could have been an argument between them.”… Read more here

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Refugees in Jerusalem firebombed again

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 12, 2012

Its happened again. Someone had fire bombed an Eritrean refugee couple’s apartment in Jerusalem in the middle of the night. The 32-year old man suffered second-degree burns over 20 percent of his body. Last month someone firebombed an apartment in Jerusalem at 3am in the morning in which ten Eritrean asylum seekers slept. In late April and early May of this year assailants firebombed several homes and a kindergarten in Tel Aviv. Then in May, a mob rampaged through south Tel Aviv attacking black people at random. An article in +972 Mag details the latest attack:

The apartment of an Eritrean couple in Jerusalem went up in flames last night, in what looks like another arson attack. Haaretz reports that at around 3 a.m., the man and the woman, who is seven months pregnant, awoke and tried to stamp out the fire with their feet. There are times when events are so horrible, it’s hard to find any words and easy to feel paralyzed with misery.

The Hebrew Haaretz story adds that the 32-year old man suffered second-degree burns over 20 percent of his body. And because of the woman’s advanced pregnancy, both will be kept in the hospital for some time. Given recent stories about the high rate of infections in Israeli hospitals, this puts their fetus at risk. If, god forbid, anything happens, will the perpetrators be charged with that crime too? That is, if they are ever found?

Does anyone know what a second-degree burn feels like? … Read more here

Posted in right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Italy abandons refugees, while attacks on refugees in Greece run parallel to rise of neo-Nazi group

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 10, 2012

Whenever certain countries fall on hard economic times, almost like clockwork far-right groups and populist opinion rear up to blame the problems on scapegoats who have nothing or little to do with the issues. A favorite target time and again is refugees and immigrants, whether it be in the US, Israel, Egypt, Greece or Italy. Currently, the Greek government and police have decided to turn a blind eye while apparently a neo-Nazi group/far-right gangs brutalize refugees and asylum seekers. An article at Dawn Media has the story:

ATHENS: Xenophobic attacks on migrants and refugees are flaring up in Greece where economic hardship and crime have fueled the rise of the far-right and vigilante gangs, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

Xenophobic violence is a pervasive, shocking and well-known fact,” Judith Sunderland, the US-based watchdog’s senior researcher for Western Europe, told a news conference in Athens.

We are not seeing an adequate response from the Greek state … We found arrests are rare and police inaction is the general rule.”

The group said it had interviewed 59 people who experienced or escaped a xenophobic incident between August 2009 and May 2012.

Most involved serious beatings of migrants and asylum seekers and included two pregnant women, HRW said, pointing to an emerging pattern of attacks.

The assailants, operating in gangs that sometimes include women, often wear dark clothing and obscure their faces with motorcycle helmets.

Most use fists, clubs or beer bottles, exhorting the victims to leave Greece and occasionally robbing them as well.

The attacks run parallel to the rise of a neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, that has promised to rid the country of illegal migrants and last month elected 18 deputies to parliament for the first time in Greek political history.

Although no known police analysis or court ruling has linked the citizens’ groups or Golden Dawn with groups carrying out violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers, there is some evidence to suggest that the attackers are members of or associated with these groups,” the HRW report said... Read more here

Italy’s government in the meantime has apparently decided to continue its abandonment of legally recognized refugees. An article in The Financial Times explains:

The stench from one toilet and one shower for 250 people permeates sweltering corridors and windowless cubby-holes. Asafaw, young and mentally disturbed from his years in the Eritrean army, gazes vacantly from a camp bed, still wearing military fatigues.

Salaam (peace) Palace, as it is known to its more than 800 inhabitants – all fugitives from war or persecution in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia – resembles those familiar hellholes found near battle zones across the globe. But this derelict, eight-storey, former government building illegally occupied by desperate refugees stands on the edge of Rome, capital of the world’s eighth-biggest economy.

Unknown to almost all Italians, Salaam Palace is nonetheless well-known in the Horn of Africa as the final destination to be reached at the end of a long and treacherous journey across desert and sea.

Last week it received an unusual visitor in the form of Nils Muiznieks, Europe’s top human rights official who expressed strong criticism of Italy under its technocrat government, based on its treatment of refugees, detained immigrants and the Roma, as the gypsy communities prefer to call themselves.

I saw a window of opportunity in this government to push for a more complete break with past practices,” Mr Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, told the Financial Times, voicing shock and disappointment at what he had witnessed.

Italy is relatively generous in giving refugee status but very little after that,” he said of the refugees in Salaam Palace, noting that the municipality had even cut off water supplies to the building for three days last month.

Effectively abandoned by a system that provides no work, money or shelter, the refugees get asylum status but are then “ghosts” trapped in a Kafka-esque nightmare… Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Human Rights Watch, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Israel begins rounding up South Sudanese refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 13, 2012

After Israel’s top court handed down a landmark court decision last week allowing the government to deport South Sudanese migrants, the government has begun arrests and round ups. The government plans to deport 4,500 South Sudanese migrants despite dire condition in South Sudan. The fact that South Sudan is a natural ally of Israel matters not at all to Israel’s right-wing government. An article at Canada’s CBC News reports about the arrests and round ups:

Africans living illegally in Israel say they face harassment and in some cases fear for their safety, as government authorities move ahead with plans to deport thousands of migrants…

The government plans to deport 4,500 migrants, after a landmark court decision was handed down last week…

Some rights groups have taken issue with the crackdown, accusing the authorities of abdicating their responsibilities.

The situation has definitely deteriorated,” said Segal Rosen, who works for an organization called Hotline for Migrant Workers. “It looks as if the government completely ignored the fact that the majority of these people are genuine refugees.”

Last year, there was one successful applicant among the 4,600 people who sought for refugee status in Israel… Read more here

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is now concerned about the country’s image, rather than the crimes and abuses perpetrated against the refugees. An article at 972mag explains this, and describes how the country’s refugee headhunting unit carries out its work in the course of the mass round-up:

This, reports activist Rotem Ilan (Hebrew), is how the Oz Unit (refugee headhunting unit, dregs of Israeli society so low they couldn’t even get in to the police) sounds in action: “Do you want me to fuck you in the ass? You like it, it shows” (Oz officer to an activist); “The father said he does not love you anymore, and you can fly for all he cares” (Oz officer to a mother and daughter held in custody, asking to say their goodbyes to the child’s father); “If you need to go to the bathroom, just piss in your dress” (Oz officer to a priest in traditional African garb, who actually had a residency permit); “What am I, a bell boy? Do I have to carry your luggage? You don’t want to [carry it], see if I care” (Oz officer during an arrest of a family with three children, yesterday).

Veteran journalist Yael Gvirtz described (Hebrew) some of the deportees: “A girl with hideous burns (whose mother and brother are already detained), [to be deported] to a country with no medical infrastructure… A person seriously ill with diabetes, who knows deportation consigns him to death, because there is no insulin to be gotten there. Just two of the stories, because this night is so difficult as it is. And what would the next picture be? The disaster area (and then the Israeli government will surely send an IDF flying hospital, to show the world how humane we are…)”… Read more here

Posted in right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

African refugee apartment firebombed in Jerusalem; four injured

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 4, 2012

Once again we see the consequences of the hate rhetoric and incitement emanating from the right-wing coalition leadership in Israel. Knesset Members have attended anti-African rallies in south Tel Aviv since 2010. Last year people began attacking migrants. In late April and early May of this year, several homes and a kindergarten were firebombed. Then two weeks ago a mob rampaged through south Tel Aviv attacking black people at random (including a black Israeli of Ethiopian origin). Now, an apartment in Jerusalem in which ten Eritrean asylum seekers were sleeping was firebombed at 3am last night. Apparently the firebomb was directed at the apartment’s sole entry/exit, indicating the assailants’ intent to kill the occupants. At least four refugees suffered injuries from smoke inhalation and burns while trying to extinguish the blaze. The assailants left behind a graffiti message to get “out of the neighborhood.” An article in the Los Angeles Times explains:

JERUSALEM — The wave of violence against African refugees in Israel hit Jerusalem on Monday morning with the firebombing of an apartment where 10 Eritrean asylum-seekers were living.

At least four refugees suffered injuries from smoke inhalation and burns while trying to put out the blaze, officials said. The assailants were not apprehended and left behind a graffiti message to get “out of the neighborhood,” according to police.

The attack is the latest in string of violence against Africans in Israel…

… critics say recent statements by some officials about deporting or imprisoning refugees have encouraged the backlash. One lawmaker recently called on Israeli soldiers to shoot any refugees attempting to cross the border with Egypt.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has called the refugees “criminals” and suggested, without providing evidence, that they are responsible for raping many Israeli women… Read more here

In the time leading up to the violence members of the right-wing coalition leadership have called for African migrants to be “sent away”, termed the migrants a “cancer”, exclaimed that ”All human rights activists should be imprisoned and transported to camps…”, and “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man,” according to a posting at +972blog. A member of the Knesset (parliament) from a non-coalition party, which largely supports the rightist government leadership, went so far as to say, “Anyone that penetrates Israel’s border should be shot, a Swedish tourist, Sudanese from Eritrea, Eritreans from Sudan, Asians from Sinai. Whoever touches Israel’s border – shot.”

Posted in asylees, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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